A California couple accused of imprisoning and torturing their 13 children have pleaded not guilty.
Judge bars 'Christian' parents from contacting 'shackled' children
A California judge has barred the parents accused of torturing their children and shackling them to beds for months at a time from contacting them.
David and Louise Turpin are accused of abusing their 13 children - ranging from two to 29 years old - before they were rescued on January 14 from their home in Perris. They have pleaded not guilty to torture and other charges.
A judge signed a protective order on Wednesday prohibiting the couple from contacting their children, except through lawyers or investigators.
Before the brief hearing, Louise Turpin looked at her husband and smiled.
"It protects everyone involved, including my client," David Turpin's lawyer, David Macher, said about the order. "I don't want my client exposed to accusations that he attempted to harass or threaten a witness."
Louise Turpin's lawyer declined to comment after the hearing.
All of the children remain in hospital, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said.
Deputies arrested the husband and wife after their 17-year-old daughter climbed out a window and called 911. Authorities allegedly found the siblings in the family's filthy home, with three of them said to be shackled to beds when deputies knocked on the door.
Investigators have learned that the children were isolated from each other and locked in different rooms in small groups, Mr Hestrin said.
The children did not have access to televisions or radios but were able to read and write and expressed themselves in hundreds of journals that were seized from the home, the district attorney said.
"It appears to me that they lacked any kind of understanding about how the world worked," Mr Hestrin said.
One of the older boys had taken a variety of classes at Mt San Jacinto College, a community college, but his mother took him to the campus and waited outside class for him, Mr Hestrin said.
The college confirmed that one of the Turpins had been a student but refused to provide additional information.
David's parents, James and Betty Turpin, told ABC News they were "surprised and shocked" by the allegations and could understand "any of it".
They said that they are considered to be a good Christian family in their community and that added that "God called on them" to have as many children as they did.
The pair also said their grandchildren had "very strict homeschooling," and they would memorise long passages of the Bible, some of them aimed to learn the entire Bible.
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